Los Aguachiles

los aguachiles taco truck columbus

6157 Cleveland Ave
Columbus, 43231
614.483.0624

We seen a few seafood-focused taco trucks come and go on the west side before but Aguachiles brings this novelty  the east side. Found on north Cleveland Avenue just south of 270, it’s conveniently (if you’re getting take out)  located in the parking lot of a beer store.

seafood taco truck columbus

The truck takes its name from the dish – aguachiles – which is a shrimp ceviche in which the shrimp are essentially cooked in lime juice. Usually aguachiles are very spicy but the version at Los Aguachiles was probably the mildest version we’ve had. It didn’t suffer for the lack of heat and I’d imagine you could order it spicier. As is traditional, it’s served with crackers and tostadas.

aguachiles Columbus

The truck offers several different versions of shrimp cooked on the grill. The main difference seemed to be different levels of spice. We enjoyed our order of camarones a la plancha. The shrimp were grilled with onions and peppers and still had a little kick even though this was reputed to be the mildest option. They were served with cucumber, rice and beans as well as tortillas.

taco truck grilled shrimp

We also tried a tostada de camarones y pulpo (shrimp and octopus) which proved to be a solid version of the dish. Not too spicy but with plenty of lime and some avocado.

ceviche in columbus ohio

In addition to the seafood, there are plenty of meat options including the usual taco truck staples of burritos, tacos, tortas and quesadillas.

The truck has a tent with some seating and the owner and staff were friendly. The truck had only been open 3 days when we visited so we expect the menu and hours to evolve as they get established.

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El Comalito

taco truck karl road columbus

1679 Karl Court
(off Karl Road, just south of 161)
614.214.9420
Open from 11am-11pm daily.
Facebook

El Comalito is a little hard to spot, set back off of Karl Road in a curious little courtyard with a strip club on one side and a church on the other. Because of it’s slightly secluded location it feels a little more laid back than some of the other truck locations and feels like somewhere you could linger over dinner. They’ve got a nice little seating area (the carpet is a cute touch) and both times we’ve eaten dinner there we’ve enjoyed a great sunset.

The menu offers everything you’d expect and them some: tacos, tortas, quesadillas, burritos and also hurraches, sopes, tostadas, fajitas and nachos. On weekends they add posole – a delicious hominy-studded soup – and tamales (sweet and savory). This is the first place we’ve come across sweet tamales and on our first visit we enjoyed a pineapple tamale for dessert.

el comalito taco truck

Our favorite meat option was probably the chicken, which was cooked tinga style with a little chipotle and had a great flavor. It’s pictured below on the sopes, topped with lettuce, crema, avocado and cheese. The chorizo and steak are also good options.

chicken tinga sopes

The al pastor was fine but a little overwhelmed by the overly sweet canned pineapple. All of the other dishes we tried – quesadilla, torta (below) and tacos were all solidly prepared.

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The owner is very friendly and engaging, and speaks good English. He’s also willing to deliver within a 2 mile radius of the truck. Chorizo tacos are $1 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Salsas are housemade. Drinks are limited to sodas but they have a good range of Jarritos.

taco trucks in Columbus ohio

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El Manantial Latino (Dos)

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8380 North High Street
(Parking Lot of Two Brothers Wine and Spirits)
Columbus, OH 43235
614 515 3929

Open 11:30 am to 9:00 pm
Closed Sundays

El Manantial Latino may look familiar. The original trailer has been around for over four years. This is a spin-off. It is located in an unlikely area and especially well beyond the traditional Taco Truck Territory. Located outside of I-270 on the far north side of Columbus, this trailer is buried in a series of strip malls and surrounded by plenty of food options, including a Taco Bell. The menu is the same as El Manantial (Original or Uno). We will let the menu speak for itself below.

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The selections (and some of the translations) are very different from the typical Taco Truck fare. Pineapple is a common ingredient in some dishes as well as unexpected items like hot dogs and the mysterious “pink sauce”. Empanadas and Cuban sandwiches are on the menu as well.

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The trailer has a couple of downsides that might be righted along the way. Not all menus items are available every day. The phone number is for the original trailer located miles away so neighbors can not effectively call in an order for pick up. The start time of 11:30 am….is a little shaky on occasion.

We wish this spin-off well and will keep tabs to see if it can sustain in this unlikely location.

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Taqueria El Paisa

Taqueria El Paisa

3900 Sullivant Ave
Columbus, 43228
614.302.0788

Open 10am – 9pm (sometimes close earlier)
Now only open Saturday-Monday

Click here to map it!

We were sad to see Little Mexico close at the end of last year but the oldest taco truck in Columbus has new owners and keeps on trucking. There’s always a little anxiety when a truck we love changes owners. Will it still be as good? In the case of El Paisa we didn’t need to worry. So far it may even be an improvement.

menu taqueria el paisa

The menu is mostly the same, the standard taco truck fare of tacos, tortas, burritos, gorditas and quesadillas but El Paisa have added huaraches to the line up. Everything we’ve eaten so far has been very well made. The gorditas are a little different and come with beans, meat, cheese (crumbled queso fresco), cilanto and onion. No sour cream or tomato. We like them this way.

Where El Paisa really excels is in their meat. We’ve sampled the barbacoa, chorizo, carnitas and steak and have been impressed. They make their own chorizo from scratch.

They’ve also added lengua, huraches and ceviche tostadas.

taqueria el paisa

On Mondays tacos are $1. 

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Late Night Taco Trucks at the Continent

In the early 1980′s, the Continent near the intersection of SR 161 and Busch Blvd., was the place to be in Columbus. The location housed the French Market, which added an international feel to the city with a food court of various foods, independent shops that had a faux French Village Motif and lots and lots of people coursing through the area. The area was dead by the mid 1990′s. In the last few years, the place has had a minor rebirth as a destination for the young Latino population of Columbus. On Friday, Saturday and especially Sunday nights, the night clubs are full. If you did not look at the license plates in the parking lot you could think you were in Houston, Santa Fe, Southern California or even parts of Mexico City. Mixed among the throngs of the young ladies with short skirts, bangle ear rings and three-inch heels and macho boys in Cowboy hats and urban wear you will find two Taco Trucks serving the crowds and keeping it real in the neighborhood.

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El Tizoncito has been at the location for over a year. Don Pedro’s (well known to the writers of TTC) has migrated to this spot in early 2013 and found it to be very profitable. Tizoncito parks in front of Euphoria Night Club Friday to Sunday from 7:30 pm to 3:30 am.

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Don Pedro’s pops out the panbazo’s Friday to Sunday until 4 am in front of Spain Night Club. The club complex is more centrally located and more upscale than many other Taco Truck locations in town. There is also a bit of a sense of “turf” here, so if you are going to visit to appreciate the food and the culture, you may feel that you really stand out from the crowd. Do make sure you know some Spanish if you plan on doing more than ordering food to go.

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Four Years of Taco Trucking

taco trucks columbus ohio

In the beginning, we had no idea if anyone would read this blog. Mobile Mexican food – we knew we were enthusiastic about it, but would anyone care?

To our shock and delight, they did. It’s our sense that the taco trucks in Columbus have, in the past four years, emerged from obscurity to become a point of pride for the city. They certainly have for us. In the mean time, we’ve seen two trucks graduate to bricks & mortar restaurants, and we’ve seen one of them ranked as serving one of the four best tacos in the US.

And, we’ve seen the truck scene mature and, perhaps, reach a critical mass. The total number of them remains consistent, and change mostly comes in the form of trucks changing hands (though our most recent post, Los Sartenes, is a brand new debut). As such, activity on this site is less frenetic than it was at the beginning, but we want to reassure you – we do continue to monitor the goings on in the taco truck world, and are still dedicated to bringing you new content as it is made available.

And, in the mean time, two thirds of the Taco Trucks Columbus team also run Columbus Food Adventures – our local food tour company. It was begun, in no small part, due to the desire we found among people to visit taco trucks, and our Taco Truck Tour is easily one of our most popular itineraries. If you’d like to take a tour with the founders of Taco Trucks Columbus and taste our favorite dishes from our favorite trucks, we’d love to see you – tour tickets can be purchased at ColumbusFoodAdventures.com.

Also, we’d encourage you to check out the preview of Transfusion, showing on Saturday, May 11th, at the The Gateway Film Center at 4:00 pm. It’s a documentary focusing on Columbus taco trucks, both in general and with a special focus on the plight of one local taco truck and the family they left behind in San Luis Potosi. We’ve seen an impressive extended trailer of the film and are definitely going to catch this showing!

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Los Sartenes

taco trucks columbus

901 S. James Road
614.439.5308
Facebook
@lossartenes 

Click here to map it!

Through our experiences with taco trucking, we’ve learned to be concerned for anyone that debuts in the cold seasons. Sad truth is, they don’t often last long enough to see the food truck friendly months. Los Sartenes opened a month or so ago – in the dead of winter – but we’d wager that they’ll experience a much kinder fate.

First off, this isn’t a low-budget operation.  It’s slick in the best sense of the word. From the tidiness of the kitchen to the conspicuous newness of the trailer to the impressive clarity of the menus (both posted and takeaway), it’s clear that much planning has occurred and that plans have been executed skillfully.

taco trucks columbus

At first glance, it almost spooked us a bit – we don’t often find the unadulterated flavors of Mexico coming from trucks with this level of refinement. Thankfully, the only sense in which our instincts were right were that, in addition to fine Mexican, Los Sartenes is also putting out some fine renditions of Central American fare as well. We started off with a couple of tacos – they passed our lengua test with flying colors – and then moved on to the following:

Traditionally a Salvadoran dish, the pupusa kicks off our exploration of the Central American side of the menu. Essentially a thick corn tortilla pancake filled with any of a variety of ingredients, a good pupusa is a great thing. We tried their cheese version and it was no exception.

salvadorean food

For a truck that defies expectations, their yuca dish epitomizes it. We’ve previously thought of yuca as a Brazilian root vegetable side dish, and something that’s mushy, starchy, and kind of inert. But then again, we’d never seen it served with generous chunks of fried pork belly, curtido, and sauce. They’ve upped the yuca game, folks.

interesting taco truck dishes

We were excited to see empanadas de platanos on the menu; they’re a favorite Salvadoran snack of ours, and hard to come by locally. Los Sartenes’ version didn’t disappoint – the empanada shell consists of a thick layer of mashed sweet plantain filled with a sweet soft cheese, and the whole shebang is fried and dusted with sugar. Don’t let the use of ‘sweet’ and ‘sugar’ deceive, though – while these are certainly dessert-worthy, they’re nonetheless fairly tame on the sweetness spectrum. And, they’re really good.

los sartenes taco truck

The menu is unusually extensive, and the fine folks that alerted us to their location (thanks Jeff & Pablo!) have mentioned a few other dishes that we need to try (the carnitas torta being first among them). Check these guys out, and let us know what you thought!

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